“You can observe a lot by just watching”
As some of you may know, I am a fan of Yogi Berra quotes. The guy is amazingly smart, and by saying some things in a ‘stupid’ way, he makes you laugh and the lesson sticks a bit more. Since he was a coach, I can also relate.
One of his quotes is: “You can observe a lot by just watching.” (There are several similar wordings.)
Why is this relevant to Agile?
Well, it seems obvious to me, but it needs to be explained, and I need reminding too.
Let me start by stating my hypothesis, that everything we do in working as a team is imperfect, everything can be improved. My related hypothesis is that people and their interactions are complex. Another related hypothesis is that only by sharing tacit knowledge can the team create new knowledge and become truly successful in creating a new product for its set of customers (a new piece of software, for example).
So, the ScrumMaster watches the team to see what is really going on, how the productivity is working. He evaluates what are the top impediments and what can we do about them.
These impediments can be anything. Any thing. People, technology, external intrusions, light/heat, attitude, process, whatever. So, the ScrumMaster evaluates what is important enough to be worth taking action on.
Thus, as I am trying to explain, the ScrumMaster needs time to observe the team (and things around the team). Time to smoke out what is noise and what is real. Time to let the introverts speak with their actions. What are the usual complaints about “work” or “life” (we all always have these), and what are the top one or two impediments that, if changed or improved on, will give the team greater Velocity.
It’s not hard if you relax and concentrate. (The paradox that martial arts and most sports and, indeed, life itself always bring us back to. Mastery with time.)